- Journal Article
Abstract: Private standards play an increasingly important governance role, yet their effects on state-led policymaking remain understudied.
We examine how the operation of private agricultural standards influences multilateral pesticide governance with a particular focus on the listing of substances under the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, a treaty-based information-sharing mechanism that allows countries to refuse hazardous chemical imports.
We find that private agricultural standard-setting bodies use the Rotterdam Convention's pesticide list to develop their own lists of banned substances. This alters the Rotterdam Convention's intended role, impeding efforts to add substances to the treaty, as attempts by private actors to impose stricter governance than state actors can undermine the potential for international state-based governance to become more stringent. We characterize this as a “confounding interaction” whereby institutional linkages between actions by public and private actors with broadly aligned goals results in unexpected negative consequences for governance.